Prospective Student Information

Thank you for considering NDSU as one of your postsecondary institutions. As a potential student, we wanted to give you the opportunity learn about how you can  receive the education you want and the services you need if you choose NDSU as your institution. This information is made available to help you answer questions about personal and academic goals while attending NDSU.

Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources (CADR) is here to assist you in gaining equal access to all NDSU services, classes, and events. The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources also will assist you in determining how NDSU can best help you meet your accommodation needs in these areas. CADR is the primary office on campus with staff that have specialized knowledge and experience in disability issues. Feel free to contact us at anytime by emailing - , calling (701) 231-8463 or stopping by our office located in the lower level of the Main Library. 

Click here to download the complete Prospective Student Handbook.


As students leave high school to enter NDSU, they will find fundamental changes with respect to their education as a person with a disability. Every student who attends public school has a legal entitlement to an education, regardless of a disability. Students with disabilities are identified by the school and provided with appropriate supports and services depending on their educational needs.

In higher education, students have a legal right to equal access to their education. One of the major differences between K-12 and higher education is that the individual student is responsible for themself and is not the responsibility of the institution. It’s a distinction that can make a big difference.

This handbook explains some of the differences between K-12 and higher education as well as provides tips on how to support students during this next step. 

Typical Accommodations

Access To Assistive Technology

A variety of assistive technology is available to students with disabilities. Some students may need to type their notes or assignments on a computer, with or without special software. Students with visual impairments may benefit from screen- reading software. Other students may need to use a Braille typewriter, note-taking solutions or magnifying products. 

Access To Class Notes

Note takers can help students who are not able to take their own or sufficient notes during class due to a disability or an ongoing medical condition. Note taking does not replace attendance requirements.

Alternate Format Material

Students with a variety of disabilities including, but not limited to, blindness or low vision, physical disabilities and learning disabilities, may require their print materials to be produced in an alternative format (electronic, large print or Braille). Alternate format materials provide students with print disabilities access to academic materials.

ASL Interpreting

An interpreter/transcriber is simply one who bridges the gap between the spoken and deaf world. When the teacher or a classmate speaks, the interpreter/transcriber translates the spoken words into the language preferred by the deaf or hard of hearing student. The student likewise participates in the classroom by signing or typing the information and the interpreter voices it (talks) for the class.

Assisted Listening Devices

Some students who are hard of hearing may require an assistive listening device. Each device is different. In most cases, unless there is an audio system in the room that has a built-in ALD, the instructor will be required to wear a small device with a microphone so that the student can hear.


Students who are deaf or hard of hearing will need to have all videos shown in class to have captioning.

Recording Lectures

Some students may need to be able to record their lectures due to the nature of their disability.

Testing Accommodations

Some accommodations relate to test taking. Time-and-one-half for testing is the usual accommodation given to students who, for disability-related reasons, work slowly and require additional time to complete tests. A few students also may need to take tests in a room with limited distractions or with no other students present. For example, a student may need to read test questions aloud, and this would be disturbing to other test-takers. Still other students may request the use of a laptop computer or adaptive computer technology for taking essay exams, distraction-reduced rooms, a scribe, large print, special lighting, etc. Disability Services provides a testing space as a service for faculty and students. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What services does the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources provide?

The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources coordinates and provides accommodations for academic programs and events. Accommodations may be individualized to address a specific functional limitation. Accommodations are optional and students may select one or more accommodations to best meet their functional limitations. Some examples of accommodations include scribes, note-takers, assistive technology, interpreter services and relocation of classes to accessible facilities.

Who Will Manage Students’ Educational Services?

Students are ultimately responsible for managing their own education, understanding their functional limitations and requesting necessary accommodations for a disability. As adults, students will need to develop skills to self-advocate for things they may need. These skills are crucial because it is the student, not the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources, who will approach instructors, other staff and even other students to request accommodations that are reasonable for them to receive. Clearly, these are the skills all students need to have when they leave college and move successfully into their chosen careers. The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources will be there to support and guide the student through this process, but ultimately it is up to the student to take control of their education.

How Do Students Advocate For Themselves To Ensure They Receive Appropriate Accommodations?

Students must advocate effectively for the accommodations they require at the university. To do this, students need to understand their disability and how it limits their functioning at the university. The limitations of the disability, not the disability itself, are the reason accommodations are recommended and provided. In order for the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources (CADR) to provide the most appropriate, most reasonable accommodation, documentation should be provided that follows the guidelines listed below. Once a student registers with CADR and appropriate documentation is provided, an intake meeting will be scheduled to discuss the impact of the disability within the academic environment.

How do you register with the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources?

The following is the process for registering with CADR.

Student submits an application for the CADR through the Bison Accessibility Portal found at
Student provides documentation from a qualified professional, which should be recent (three years old or newer is preferred). The best quality documentation is from a licensed or credentialed professional with expertise in the diagnosed area of the disability. The professional making the diagnosis must not be related to the student. Documentation should include the following: 
A clear diagnostic statement that describes when and how the condition was diagnosed and provides information on the impact of the disability.

A description of the diagnostic methods(if applicable).

A description of how the conditions will impact the student within the academic or university environment.

Recommendations for reasonable accommodations.

Student calls CADR to set up an intake meeting at their earliest convenience.
Student meets with a disability specialist. 
The student must be present and can invite parents, guardians or other individuals to the meeting. If the student does not want parents or guardians in the meeting, it is his or her choice.
At the intake meeting, the staff member needs input information from the student.
After the intake meeting, the student’s accommodations will be available through the Bison Accessibility Portal.
The student then selects the accommodations they would like for each course. Once they select accommodations for a course, an email is sent to faculty informing them of approved accommodations.

Does the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources provide evaluations?

Neither the Americans with Disabilities Act nor Section 504 requires institutions of higher learning to evaluate and assess students with disabilities or suspected disabilities. This is in contrast with public schools where students are entitled to an assessment(s). CADR can direct you to appropriate qualified professionals when information is too old to accurately reflect the student’s functioning, if the student has not been previously diagnosed with a disability or if the professional who did the assessment would not be otherwise qualified in that area.

A Student Had Some Subjects Waived In High School. Will They Automatically Be Waived In College?

There are no “automatic” waivers in higher education. In fact, there are no waivers at all. Rather, under certain circumstances, students may be granted substitutions for some courses. But substitutions will be considered only when students demonstrate both that they are otherwise qualified, and that the substitution removes a disability-related barrier to their academic program. Remember that ADA provides for reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Under ADA, however, it is not reasonable to lower the academic standard. Therefore, requests for substitutions must be accompanied by convincing documentation supporting the claim. The student would need to meet with a disability specialist to discuss their specific situation. Meeting with a accessibility specialist regarding this does not mean the request will be granted.

If a student's 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) is sent to the Office of Admission, are they automatically registered with the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources?

No. Please do not send documentation to the Office of Admission. All documentation should be sent to CADR. Upon applying with the CADR, students should call to set up an intake meeting. Please see the “Registering with the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources” section above for more detailed instructions. Documentation can be scanned and emailed (, faxed ((701) 231-8520), mailed (see address at the end of this document) or dropped off in person. Provided information will be saved in a prospective file and shredded according to university policy.

A student had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan in High School. Will their plan automatically be implemented at NDSU?

While an IEP or 504 plan may be helpful in understanding a student’s barriers and needs, those modifications or accommodations do not transfer to NDSU. IEPs and 504 plans focus on helping the student participate in the general curriculum as much as possible. It often involves significant modification of the curriculum and of assessments. At the university level, students with disabilities will be graded by the same standards as other students, regardless of the means through which their responses are provided. Instructors are NOT required, nor encouraged, to fundamentally alter the content or goals of their courses, though they may be required to make changes that do not affect essential content or goals.

Why Can’t Parents Access Information About Their Student’s Services?

Once students enroll in a post-secondary institution, whether they are 18 years old or not, they become the sole guardian of all records maintained by that institution. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1976 (FERPA), the student has the right to access their own records upon written request. The parent or guardian does not share that right. This means that parents do not have legal access to their student’s grades, transcripts or any information concerning the services they are provided through the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources. This information is confidential. However, the student may sign a written release of information which gives the institution the right to disclose their records to their parents. The only time a student’s record may be disclosed without written consent would be to comply with a subpoena or in an emergency situation where the health and safety of the student or another individual is threatened.

Should The Student Meet With Faculty Members To Discuss Their Educational Needs?

Face-to-face exchanges between students and instructors are the most beneficial. It is critical that communication between the student and instructor results in the provision of appropriate accommodations. Students are encouraged to discuss with the instructor the accommodation that was approved through the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources. This is best accomplished either before classes begin, or at the latest during the first week of classes. This introduces the student and their request for accommodations early. Students will likely need to talk with instructors more than once a semester, so the first face-to-face meeting is very important.

Communication is the key to successful implementation of services. Students have a number of options open to them in the event that communication with instructors does not result in accommodations being received. Students should stay in touch with their disability specialist to discuss all of their options. The disability specialist is a person inside the Disability Services office who students may meet with to discuss concerns.

Where Can Free Tutoring Be Obtained On Campus?

NDSU has some excellent tutoring resources that students can take advantage of. Students are encouraged to use these resources.

Ace Tutoring

ACE Tutoring ( is a free academic support program available to all enrolled undergraduate students. They help students understand course concepts, find a study group or simply have access to a quiet place to study. ACE helps students meet academic goals.

Lower Level of the West Dining Center Phone: (701) 231-8379

TRIO Student Support Services

TRIO Student Support Services ( at NDSU is supported through a federal grant and is designed to enhance the educational experience of eligible students while at NDSU. They provide free services to NDSU students, such as specialized academic advising, one-on-one tutoring, career exploration options, priority registration, mentoring services and instruction. Students who receive the Pell Grant may be eligible for extra financial aid through Student Support Services Grant Aid during their first two years of college. TRIO main office

Ceres Hall 337
Phone: (701) 231-8028

Does Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources handle handicapped parking?

No. Individuals who want to use university-designated handicapped parking areas must obtain a State Handicapped Permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles. A handicapped permit must be displayed in conjunction with a valid NDSU permit. Handicapped spaces in pay station lots do not require an additional NDSU permit, but do require payment at the pay station kiosk.

Persons with short-term medical conditions or injuries may receive more accessible parking options at NDSU Parking and Transportation Services for up to six weeks. Appropriate written verification of need from your medical provider is required. Please contact Parking and Transportation Services at for more information.

A student has limited mobility. How can the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources help meet their housing needs?

To set up housing accommodations, the student must follow a process much like academic accommodations. When requesting Residence Life accommodations at NDSU due to a disability, the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources needs to determine whether there is a condition or combination of conditions that constitute a disability, and whether the disability causes limitations for which reasonable accommodations are needed. Documentation will assist the CADR in understanding how the disability may have an impact in the residence halls and the current impact of the conditions as it relates to the housing request.

Please note: Residence Life accommodations can take up to 60 days after a request is made and documentation is submitted.

The first step is to fill out a Residence Life Student Request Form

The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources will work with Residence Life to make reasonable and appropriate accommodations, based on documentation. Most housing accommodations are made out of concern for safety (e.g., placing a student with limited mobility on the first floor). Please contact CADR for more specific information.

A Student was registered with the Disability Office of another school. Does the student need to register with NDSU’S Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources?

Yes, if the student would like accommodations. The student will need to follow the procedures mentioned earlier to register with NDSU's Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources. This includes providing documentation that explains the diagnosis, academic impact and specific recommendations for the student. Sometimes a student’s file may be faxed to NDSU from their previous institution. Please contact the previous university to see if this is possible. 

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